Let's suppose we have a situation that someone is holding a gun on his hand, and people are yelling that he's holding a gun. Since I'm a non-native English speaker, I'd say something like this in this situation.

He has a gun!

But I frequently saw from the movies that most of the native speakers use the verb got in this kind of situation. The problem is that their pronunciation is often too fast, I can't easily tell whether or not they speak has before speaking got.

So my question boils down to this simple question; which usage is more idiomatic between

He has got a gun!


He got a gun!

I'm assuming the more idiomatic usage between these two would be roughly interchangeable with the plain verb have.

  • 1
    Sometimes people just yell "Gun!!"
    – AIQ
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 4:08

1 Answer 1


Idiomatically, it would be neither.

In casual and informal conversation, if you want to use the word got, you'd use the contracted form of the first alternative:

He's got a gun!

  • He has got sounds stilted and awkward.
  • He got is ambiguous.

    It could mean that he actually has one on him, but that's unlikely. If that is the meaning, it would be used in a dialectic form of English. If the person speaks like that in general, then it might fit into their character. But most people don't.

    It would more commonly mean that he picked one up at some point in the past—as in he got a gun from the shop two days ago. Barring the contextual speech pattern mentioned above, saying it to describe the present situation would be unusual.

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